tv African- American Poet Phillis Wheatley CSPAN August 23, 2017 12:34pm-1:29pm EDT
the call-ins. that people can participate. if everybody can't make it to physically in washington, d.c., but to be able to view and participate with authors live while it's happening, i think that adds so much and it gives everybody that experience and they feel part of it. >> join book tv for the national book festival live from washington, d.c. saturday september 2nd on c-span 2. born in west africa, phillis wheatley was an 18th century boston slave. and the first african-american to have their poetry published. next, english professor barbara lewis of the university of massachusetts boston explores the life and work of phillis wheatley. the boston public library and boston literary district co-hosted this event.
>> good evening. welcome to boston public library's commonwealth salon for the presentation remembering phillis wheatley by barbara lewis. my name's danielle george. i have the pleasure of introducing barbara lewis. dr. lewis heads the william monroe trotter institute for the study of african history and culture at the university of massachusetts boston. where she's also an associate professor of english. she's a francophone style as well as a cultural historian who has published on lynching and film, photography and drama, the minstrel stage and the black arts movement. dr. lewis also sought at city college, new york university and the new york university of kentucky. she currently blogs for the public humanist affiliated with the massachusetts foundation for the humanities and sits on the advisory boards of central square theater and the new federal theater in new york.
so before dr. lewis takes the stage, i'm going to ask you if you wouldn't mind turning off your cell phones. c-span is recording. at the end, if you have question, if you come to the microphone, that would be great. now i have the pleasure of introducing dr. barbara lewis. >> it's truly a pleasure to be here with you this evening. particularly since so many of us understand that this is the birthday of phillis wheatley. we can't say for sure that it's the birthday because no one knows exactly when she was born, but by tradition and belief, this day has been designated to
celebrate her coming to earth. my talk -- let me say a little bit about how this arose. as danielle george mentioned, i'm affiliated with central square theater and about a year or so ago, there was a play that they did that was set in africa and it was about a woman who was seriously committed to religion. and as i thought about the play, it seemed to me she was an african pygmalion and phillis herself was an african pygmalion. someone who had been transformed by her experience. but the transformation, it seemed, was more beneficial perhaps to those who had transformed her than it was to
her herself. and that got me to thinking more and more about filless wheatley. a aided by the fact at u.s. boston where i am we have a building named wheatley building. also, just thinking about boston and the flickering history that it's had. it's had this history where at some points its connection to african-american history is seen as positive and there are other points where it doesn't seem quite so positive. so that flicker change in character is what fascinated me. and kind of invited me to look more deeply at the history of phillis wheatley. i must confess, and maybe it's even an addiction to history. i love history.
it fascinates me. i like reading about it. i like thinking about it. i like treating it like water through which i swim. so this for me, this historical look at filless wheatley has a look at a subject that has lots, i believe, to show us. and i hope that i can be someone who brings that perspective to bear this evening. we'll start with saying that phillis wheatley had a signature. she could read. she could write. imagine. create. and she portrayed for her own times and for future generations her circumstances, experiences
and insights. in her connection to the world around her, she belongs to and symbolizes a transitional time when boston and the commonwealth stood in a pivotal position at the birthing point of a nation. fille phillis saw the country being born. her life was tied to that process. through which she provides fundamental comment. i want to start with now and then go backwards. a lot of attention has been paid recently to the wall street straight chew of a little girl confronting a bull. i see that bull as an enduring symbol of power, history and greed. an insatiable be an tight.
the little girl seems to be telling the bull she has power too and she can stand her ground. for me, the little girl symbolizes an enduring, undying filless wheatley who stands for and represents a world much bigger and older than herself. now we are proceeding to an american genesis. a pivotal atlantic crossing. in 1630, a ship named the arabella came to what we know as boston. on board that ship, john winthrop, a lawyer, envisioned the future of freedom that he and his fellow puritans would have. together they would create a new splendid and exemplary city. seven years after the puritans put their feet on this ground, they had waged war with the
result that they were able to export enslaved native american men and boys to the caribbean. from which they could never return. the year after that, a shipment of african bodies arrived in boston on a ship named the desire, which was especially built in marbleheld in 1636 to traffic in slaves. harvard was also founded in 1636. the same year that the slave trade became a shipping enterprise in the commonwealth. john winthrop saw the the desire arriving from his window and he noted that event in his diary. writing it down. recorded it as real and as a fact of history. we can conjecture what happened to several of the individuals purchased off of the desire. they were split apart.
more than likely samuel maverick, a large land owner, bought them. in new england bound, which was published in 2016, we learned that maverick ordereds male slaves to rape his female slaves so that he could increase his stock of owned bodies. the rape victim was not happy with this breeding plan. and she protested verbally. the female voice of african protest emerges early. in the same year that the the desire landed, 1638. not agreeing that her womb was another man's property. she complained to a visiting englishman who later wrote about her displeasure. this anonymous woman, anonymous, not just because we do not know her name but also because slavery cut out her name and personhood. enters history with a strong
undeniable voice. and that was also what phillis did more than a century later. led by john winthrop, the purity t puritans soon realized if they were going to dominate the land and extract wealth from it, they needed a laboring army they could force to their will and word. to achieve this, they negotiated and created in 1641 a set of laws governing their behavior. called the body of liberties. which stipulated they could take away the liberties of others, including wayward women, whose purpose it was to enrich them and theirs into eternity. the first laws to secure slavery in what became the united states were passed not in the south but in the commonwealth of massachusetts. the transatlantic slave trade
provided the wealth basis for the earth early commonwealth. it supported a life of culture, expansion, learning and prosperity. all backed by religious and biblical belief. which allowed for a life of ease and plenty. the wealth, leisure and educational platforms in which early new england stood owed their existence and prominence to slavery. which freed up the time of the owning class to rapidly grow their holdings and also enrich themselves intellectually and culturally. owning land and labor created wealth. plantations were few in new england. but northern merchants owned the ships that moved the slaves from one continent to another. they also owned the factories that manufactured the clothing that slaves and others wore. they owned the distilleries, apie
appeasing appetites with rums and spirits. and industry dependent on sugar. on sugar cultivation. wherever profit could be made, they were there. and gold and silver fill their coffers day and night. they were sultans of industry. some blacks. also showed early ambition. like mrs. atkins. an african woman who did the unthinkable in 1670. atkins purchased a house. some funding likely came from her father, a slave, who may have been on the desire and was later rewarded for his heroism in saving richard bellingham, governor richard bellingham, from drowning. mrs. atkins put down roots in the north end, then a black community. its burial ground cops hill includes thousands of black burials now largely forgotten.
blackness is often erased. unless, as is the case of phillis wheatley, the historical evidence is undeniable. mrs. atkins may have been one of the first african children born in boston. that speculation is based on her age when she enters the historical record. if she were 30 in 1670, which is likely, she would have been born around 1640, two years after the desire arrived and a year before slavery became law in the commonwealth. samuel sewall and cotton mather, two judges, were contemporaries. sewall was the only salem witch trial judge to make a public apology for his role. he seemed to have been a reflective sort who did not always go a long with the status quo, even if it was popular.
she took a separate stance relative to slavery. dissenting from the notion that the bible condoned slavery. there were slaves in the bible. so the slaves in the commonwealth were not seen as an a a antima. they were viewed as items for purchase. sewall was a do unto others as you would have them do unto you kind of guy. publishing is in 1700. the controversial pamphlet referenced the biblical story of joseph and his brothers. when salmon hit their land, they traveled to egypt where grain was available. by that point, joseph had risen from captivity to power and he was kind to the brothers who had been unkind to him. sue sewall began to think enslaving members of the human family was
wrong. by the case of a slave named adam safin who sued his owner john safin for brief of contract. adam safin said that he had fulfilled his contractual terms. john safin did not agree. he lambasted adam safin as surly and disobedient and not entitled to freedom. in court, adam safin, with his wife, won their case in 1703. the 18th century begins with abolitionist debate. this is a poem by john safin. john safin didn't like losing his slave. a source of income and status. and so he wrote some less than flattering words about adam. calling his character into question. similar, i venture, to the taunting and verbal diminishment of blacks today which we just
saw again in fenway. what does the freedom struggle of adam safin and his wife have to do with wheatley? phillis had a very different relationship they encouraged her talents and helped her promote them, unlike john saffin who was dismissive of adam. cotton mather returns to the story in relation to health. one of his slaves, a gift from his congregation, proved very useful. the meaning of his name is greek. boston was a coastal city prone to epidemic outbreaks, often introduced into the city by foreigners and travelers. small pox was a serious danger and anisimus shared some knowledge from his west african home. he counseled taking a bit of infection from someone already stricken with the early phases
of the disease and introducing that con tajen under the skin. in time the patient would recover and death would be averted. mather convinced a dr. boylston and i believe we're here boylston street -- to inn october late several slaves and a few citizens. the result of this experiment which the pure tans railed against, the idea of poison and infection from one body put into another body was the height of heathenism for them. but the result was that boston's death rate from the 1721 epidemic was much lower than it otherwise would have been. anisimus helped save the city. in 1761 when phyllis comes to boston, arriving on a dock in
what is now china town at the corner of beach and tyler, if you care to walk there, you will see a plaque commemorating her arrival. at the time the city and country were in the midst of a religious awakening, believing that a man or woman of faith, including slaves, could speak to god directly. god was as close to them as their own heart. he was a loving parent who cared for them at all times and for every reason. george whitefield, an englishman, was the most popular preacher of the day. he could move thousands with his sermons. he was also a friend of suzanne na wheatley, often staying with the family when he visited boston. so phyllis wheatley knew him personally, and when he died in 1770 she wrote a poem in his honor which was widely and internationally published.
candidly phyllis dedicated it to whitefield's english patron nis. three years later the count he is supports the english publication of wheatley's first volume of poetry. this image of phyllis in which she is not portrayed as a slave shows an alternate face of the poetess who managed to succeed the station into which she was cast. the wheatleys kept phyllis apart from their other slaves. she was not to eat with them, she was different and special, an emblem of their status and larges. it was part of european and arrest democratic tradition to view pet slaves as accessories of their own importance and we often see portraits in royal
museums in europe of well-dressed slaves who are miniature copies of their masters, albeit with different skin. whether phyllis wheatley became an exponent of the high standing of the wheatley family that could afford to keep a literary slave is a matter to be explored. in 1773 phyllis wheatley went to london where she published a collection of her poems. the image on the fronts piece to her book was created by more head, another enslaved boston african who had artistic talent. her stay in london was cut short with the news that her mistress, suzanne in a wheatley was ill. phyllis thus returned immediately to boston to take up her office as handmaden and servant, a status referred to twice on the volume 2 introductory pages, en circling
her image and underlying her name on the title page. being celebrated in london offered phyllis wheatley perhaps the most exciting and exhilarating time in her life, a literary personality she was fated and sought after, but duty interrupted and ended her stay abroad. phyllis wheatley died in 1784. she was only 31 years old and her life and the revolutionary era was sad and meager. the economy in the commonwealth suffered after the war and those who had been her friends had died or fallen away. now there is no stone marking her grave. we have no idea where she's buried, but we do have a monument to her memory on
commonwealth avenue erected in 2003. her story continues to fascinate. in richard cryingel's 2017 book "heavenly tiedings from the african muse" the author argues that wheatley should be acknowledged as the poet laureate of the american revolution. the wheat lees lived on what was then king street and is now state street. looking out the window phyllis had an up close and personal view of the theater of war. boxes of her poetic volumes arrived on the dartmouth, one of the ships relieved of its shipment of tea in the boston tea party in 1773. and the revolution i remember reverse plea changed her reality. in the last years of life phyllis wheatley was known as phyllis peters, taking her husband's last name, an african-american man, mr. peters
was in and out of debtors prison. money was scarce and hard to come by after the american revolution and it took a long while for the economy to reestablish itself. mr. and mrs. peters may have had several children. some writers say that there were three, but none of them survived her. we also know that she continued to write, but was unable to publish a second volume of poetry, although she kept trying as long as she had breath. i end my presentation with a cursive letter that phillip wheatley wrote to another enslaved woman living in newport with whom she corresponded for years. mr. tanner of newport who owned observer tanner was one of the
backers of what is now brown university, leaving his library to that institution. whether ober tanner was taught to read by the family or thought herself we do not know, but however she managed it she was literate and she and wheatley exchanged letters, maintaining a friendship for years which was important and sustaining for both. when she was in her 80s ober tanner decided to entrust her trove of wheatley letters to the sister-in-law of harriet beacher stone, believing that she would their worth and know how to preserve them for posterity. a few of the letters from that correspondence have since been discovered. today in the 21st century we have about 20 letters in the
hand of wheatley who lives on in national memory and consciousness by word and by deed. whether he wants to acknowledge it or not the bull of history, greed and power cannot ignore the daring and dark determined little girl who defied the odds and raised her voice in poetic protest while becoming a woman of immense intelligence and enduring significance. thank you. [ applause ] are there any questions? and if there are i invite you to come up to the microphone because you heard earlier that this presentation is being
filme filmed. >> thank you, ms. lewis for that really informative presentation. i just wanted to know if you could comment on how in the time when phyllis wheatley arrived in the new americas how unusual it was for slave owners to teach their slaves to read and write, and what motivated the wheatleys in particular to do this. as a side question, how much did they like call upon the intellectual community of boston at that time at the old south meeting house to educate her? >> okay. you asked me how common it was at that time. it certainly was not common. it was very uncommon. the reason they did was phyllis' own intelligence.
when they purchased her she was somewhere between six and seven years old, she was very, very young, and at the time that she came to boston there was a war going on, it was the seven years war, it was france and england at it each other, and the traffic and slavery was reduced. i would have to say that when -- the pickings were slim at that point in terms of slaves and phyllis arrived at a very frail little girl. suzanna wheatley went to the docks, they purchased the slaves off of the boats. she went to the docks with her husband because she wanted a little girl that she could train up as her nurse. she knew that she was getting older, she was getting weaker, her own children were going to
leave at some point when they started their own families and so she wanted to be assured of care. they took her home and in very short order she picked up chalk and started writing on walls. whatever she would hear she would trace letters. she was insistent on learning. the wheatleys had two children who were then living, they were teenagers, they were twins, one was mary, the other one was nathaniel. and mary fell in love with the little girl and she saw how eager she was to learn, and she was also learning at that time so she shared her lessons with phyllis, and she was proud of her and she shared her successes
with her parents and they, too, became excited. you know, this was unusual how fascinate this had little girl was and how quickly she was learning. she was learning latin, learning greek, she was eating up practically -- i should say consuming every book she could get her hands on. she was en sashable for learning. so they realized they had something different, something special and they wanted to cultivate it. suzanns wheatley was a quite religious woman. as i mentioned, she was part of a religious network that was international and, i mean, i'm speculating here, but i suspect that something inside of her was touched and she felt that this child, even though dark, had a gift from god and she wanted to cultivate it. that would be -- so definitely
it was unusual. i mean, the idea that slaves could read and write was not something to be encouraged because it might lead them to want freedom, it might lead them to be unhappy with their station in life, and at that time my sense is that there was no desire for revolt of any kind. no desire for dissent. the desire was for the status quo. >> thank you. >> i hope i answered. >> oh, no, that was great. i mean, the one other thing i was curious about was the relationship with the wheatleys at the old south meeting house and if they called upon intellectuals of that day to help educate her or not. >> my sense is that she did not need education outside of the
house. i think they -- i don't know if they called on other members of the old south meeting house. my understanding, though, is that they were very proud of her and they displayed her knowledge whenever they could in social gatherings, but i don't know if they did it at the church. i haven't done all the research that i want to do, but i believe that phyllis might have had to sit in the slave gallery at the old south church and would not have sat with the family. >> okay. thank you. >> hi, barbara. >> hi. >> i'm wondering if you might address the reaction of thomas jefferson to phyllis wheatley and what it meant, particularly as wheatley was in correspondence with george washington, with other great leaders of the states in her time.
>> well, jefferson certainly was not happy to think that there might be something or some person who was african and also intelligent and accomplished that was far beyond his frame of reference. jefferson continues to be inn he go mat tick in his relationship and his treatment of african-americans. recently i was reading about a polish nobleman whose name i'm probably going to muck up, i think it was tadoos kuskiesco. he came over and he fought in the american revolution and he saw several slaves, some of him
really got his attention and he thought the idea of slavery was a terrible, terrible mark, and so he -- in his will he left money for the freedom of slaves and he had become friendly with thomas jefferson and he left thomas jefferson as the executor of his estate. jefferson ignored what kuskiesco had put in his will and would not use the money to free slaves. i don't know how to characterize jefferson other than that and i hope i don't kind of scandal eyes anyone who loves jefferson. he was contradictory.
he was totally contradictory. he seems to have been very committed to his own pleasures and desires and books and ideas. he was insatiable in his desire for knowledge. he was constantly building. you are reminding me of another story i heard recently in a social gathering and that was that there was someone who went to monticello and visited the house and climbed up -- there was a dome on top of the house and he climbed up to the top of the dome and in that dome was sally hemming's bedroom. it was high above everything else. it was only accessible to jefferson. and for me that's an architectural symbol of some of the contradictions that he seems to have harbored at the same
time. he took pleasure from the flesh of african-americans, both carnal pleasure and economic pleasure, but he would not allow that african-americans had intelligence or had -- or had righ rights. so for me his attitude, his dismissive attitude toward phyllis wheatley is not really a surpris surprise. >> i just want to thank you. i'm a very big fan of phyllis wheatley. apologies because i have laryngitis. but i wanted to ask about -- it was something i read in grain in
salt because it was on wikipedia about an inquiry that phyllis wheatley was subjected to prior to the publication of her book. i know a number of -- i think maybe benjamin franklin was there, she was subject to the inquiry by john hancock, signer of the declaration of independence. i was wondering if you could talk more about that because that seems to creorrespond with the idea of phyllis living in boston and living at a transitional point, it seemed to be a transitional point for her and her work to prove that mr. wheatley [ inaudible ]. >> yeah. there were, i believe, 18 people who were brought into that room and it was kind of like i would imagine an oral defense for a dissertation, you know, you had
to prove that you wrote it, you had to prove that you had sufficient intelligence, you had to prove that you didn't plagiarize, you had to prove that you were authentic. and the leading minds or male minds of the time were gathered in that room and they examined her. they wanted to know was she capable of writing what she said she had written. i think one context that we might look at was that this was the age of the enlightenment, she was the age of knowledge at a time when the mind and the -- the gifts of the mind were celebrated. if you were intelligent, if you could express yourself by
writing, if you could get the intellectual attention of others you were considered at the top level of humanity. and so it was very difficult for a community, very different -- very difficult for people who had legislated that anyone whose skin was dark did not have the capacity to think, did not have the capacity to write, did not have the capacity to feel. there are even some treatise that say that people from africa could not feel pain. the belief was that these individuals, these people, were subhuman. and so for phyllis to be able to write and to write in ways that
were equal to some of the top minds of the time, it was an idea that there was a great deal of energy behind to discount. and so that tribunal was pulled together to test whether or not she was what she said she was, which was a writer of intelligence, a writer of sensibility, a writer who understood religion, a writer of moralit morality. >> could you also comment on the position of the wheatleys when captain john wheatley escorted phyllis to her, quote/unquote, trials before these male town
leaders, if, in fact, she was a specimen, quote/unquote, that was looked at as a point of pride in the family, then was it not a challenge to the wheatley family that captain wheatley had to bring her and they were doubting that her writings were, in fact, her own and that captain wheatley had committed fraud by pretending it to be hers? >> are you the lady who e-mailed me? >> yes, i am. >> okay. all right. we'll talk about that a little later. i interpret his accompaniment of phyllis wheatley a little differently. i feel that he was absolutely convinced that phyllis wheatley had the talent, the intelligence and the capacity that was proclaimed publicly. i believe that he felt she would
do brilliantly in the tribunal. so i don't feel that he was -- that there was anything negative about him escorting her to the tribunal. may i say what i -- what we -- corresponded about in e-mail or did you want to talk more privately? [ inaudible ]. >> okay. i think it was two days ago i got an e-mail. i have to say that it's been fascinating working on this project because several different people, perhaps about ten, have e-mailed me with cress of different kinds and one of the more thrilling ones i would have to say came from you. and that is that you are a lineal descendant of suzanna and
john wheatley. i mean, that's -- as i said, that's thrilling, and it also turns out that you have worked umass boston it seemed in the nursing department. [ inaudible ]. >> you are on the faculty. you indicated that you are not quite on campus as often as at some other point and so you would prefer to engage with me at the talk. and you had several questions, you said, about -- that have been puzzling you for a while about the relationship between suzanna and john wheatley and phyllis wheatley. do you have other questions or was that kind of the extent of it that you just asked? >> my questions lead to the
quandary of whether the -- because the wheatleys were my family, there they were ba any sent in part having contributed to her education as well as reverend john lothrop who she lived with later and he was a college graduate, or whether they -- and perhaps it's a dichotomy of the two -- whether they were slave owners in the harshest sense of the word, which i don't believe they were, but -- and of course it kind of gets wound around the identity of my own family in the current era, how do i -- how do i look at my forefathers and mothers and how does their identity as slave owners and perhaps bonn i
have sent slave owners conflict on my current family's identity. i think it's churned up by the current black lives movements and the horrendous treatment of people of color these days. so it's all kind of wound up in that if that's something that makes sense. >> it does. i'm not sure the extent to which i can answer, but i certainly will try. and my answer i have to say is certainly personal, i don't know to what extent it might or would need to coincide with yours. slavery is an extremely convoluted history. in terms of whether -- i
guess -- what i'm thinking now is that maybe this is kind of a glass full/glass empty kind of question in that -- or it could be approached that way. whether the wheatleys were more ba any sent or less ba any sent or more veenl or less venal, i think as human beings we have venality, but we also have goodness wrapped up in the same person and it's a question i think of percentages and it might even vary on different days. i have been puzzling with some of those questions also as i look at phyllis wheatley and her -- i'm just starting. i mean, i've been working on this on and off for about a year, but in terms of really
going deep into a culture and going deep into another time, a year is not long. there are very deep questions that would take a lot of concentration and focus, but in the time that i've spent thinking about phyllis and her experience under slavery, certainly her experience was less -- maybe i shouldn't say less, i should say more. her experience was a more positive experience than a lot of people who suffered the same fate and that positivity to a
great extent comes from her luck, if we can call it that, and i think we can, her luck in being purchased by the wheatleys. i think if a frail little girl not yet ten had to be purchased by anyone and put under the yoke of slavery, it was her good fortune to be purchased by a couple who had the generosity to encourage her natural pro cliffities. but on the other hand slavery itself was far from a kind institution.
it was not. and i've begun to think in the last few weeks that slavery is america's original sin. on television this morning c condoleezza rice said it is america's birth defect. maybe it's one or the other, maybe it's both. it's an impediment that none of us, white, black, whatever else we may be, none of us have fully gotten over it. none of us have fully addressed it. and your mention of black lives matter today is part and parcel of our inability to face the past as honestly and fully as we need to.
bringing both sides of the division together, to look each other in the eye and be honest together. we have not yet done that. i think that the world that suzanna and john wheatley played makes it more possible for us to do that. i hope that answers you. >> yes. >> poetry question. >> okay. >> what do you like about wheatley's poetry? what do we have to gain by studying wheatley as a poet? i happen to be a wheatley fan. >> wheatley as a poet is fascinating. i think her work is kind of priz mat tick in the sense that
different ages from interpreted her differently. some ages have said, oh, my god, you know, she wasn't black, you know, all that religion stuff, all that, you know, pope and everything, you know, alexander pope and all of that, you know, kind of classic stuff, where is the blackness in that? she left her roots. she totally divorced herself from her roots. and then other generations have said, but you've got to look below the surface, you know, the times were such that she had to conform to the times. she was -- one of the things that's really struck me about phyllis and her poetry is how facile she was, how politically adept she was. it was like she was creating this pecan, you know, a nut, with a shell that was perfectly conformed to the times but had a different meat inside.
so i truly appreciate her ability to sinuate her self in reelgts to what she saw as the politics of then but as time moves forward and of course it always does, her poetry seems to change with the times, too. and you can interpret the poetry in different ways at different times so that's why i called it prizmatic. it has different surfaces and i think those surfaces the fact that she was able to do that just makes me bow down to her talent, her genius because she's someone who fit in with that moment and she also, if we study her now, she fits in with now.
it seems like you might be satisfied, which is a good way for us to end, unless there are questions from some folks who haven't yet asked anything. well, if not, give me a hand and let's end it. [ applause ] president trump travels to nevada later today, he will address the american legion's national convention in reno. live coverage on c-span starts at 2:00 p.m. eastern. president trump will return to the white house later today.
>> this week on c-span, tonight at 8:00 former presidents george w. bush and bill clinton on leadership. >> i always thought i would have a better life, i could have somebody else have a better life, too, and i liked it and i got lucky. i don't care what anybody says, all these people will tell you they were born in a log cabin built themselves full of bull. >> thursday we will look at pending proposals for the federal budget. and friday a profile interview with agriculture secretary sonny perdue. >> my political history was i tell people when i was born in 1956 in georgia they stamped democrat on your birth certificate. i made a political decision, i called it truth in advertising in 1998 to change parties and became a republican at that point in time. >> followed at 8:30 p.m. by a conversation with black hat and
defcon founder jeff moss. >> there were no jobs in information security for any of us, the only people doing security were people in the military or inks ba. this was really a hobby. as the internet grew and there were jobs and people were putting things online and there was money at risk all of a sudden hackers started getting jobs doing security. >> listen using the free c-span radio app. >> next, a look at some of the divisions in the women's movement, professor and author marjorie spruill talks about her book "divided we stand," which chronicles the development of computing liberal and conservative factions in the women's movement from the late 1970s to the present day. the new york historical society and the bryant park reading room co-hosted this event. >> now it is migrate pleasure to introduce tonight's